Square POS System Review: How Does it Shape Up?

Square logo and card reader

The Square POS system is known for its low price point, but is it right for your business?

Square POS logo


  • Software is free to use with no setup or monthly fees
  • Ideal for start-ups and small businesses
  • Retail and restaurant-tailored packages


  • Relatively high credit card transaction fees
  • Higher fees incurred for large businesses

Founded in 2009, Square has become a sturdy building block for many retail and restaurant businesses. Should your business join that crowd? Well, we guarantee that we’ll help you decide today.

In this review, we’ll take a look at each corner of Square’s POS system, examining its features, benefits, pricing, and different packages. You can trust our advice, too – we’ve got a decade’s worth of experience researching and recommending the best POS systems for businesses like yours.

Spoiler alert: We like Square. We’d recommend it to start-ups and small businesses looking for an affordable way to get their foot in the payment-taking door. For more detail, just keep reading…

What Are Square’s Features and Benefits?

What makes the Square POS system so popular? It all comes down to its range of features and benefits, which we explain below…

Zero setup or monthly fees

You don’t need to pay any setup or monthly fees to use Square’s POS system. Instead, you simply pay per transaction – typically 2.6% plus 10 cents per tap, insert, or swipe. We’ll discuss the pricing in more detail later, but you can already see how paying zero monthly fees could give you greater flexibility and fewer overheads to help to get your profits up and running.

Operates in offline mode

The ability to take payments in offline mode – i.e. without an internet connection – is ideal for businesses that need to operate in areas with poor coverage, such as amusement parks, festivals, or remote areas of Canada. Offline mode also allows you to keep your business ticking along if you suffer an unexpected internet failure in your building.

Integrates with third-party apps

The Square POS system has plenty of built-in features, but you can install third-party apps to bolster your business even further. Some of the most popular apps include website builders Wix and GoDaddy, and accountancy software Xero. But be warned – installing multiple apps can see your monthly costs rise quickly.

Accepts a wide range of payments

Square wouldn’t be one of our top rated retail POS systems if it didn’t accept a variety of payment methods. With your Square POS system, you can accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Google Pay, Apple Pay, rewards cards, and e-gift cards. You can also send custom invoices straight from your POS system on your smartphone, via the Square app, direct to your customers’ email inbox.

Save by Comparing POS Quotes
Do you already use a POS system?

Square POS for Retail Review

The retail-optimized version of Square enables you to manage your inventory, sell instore and online, and communicate with your customers to encourage repeat purchases. Whether you’re after a full system with all the hardware like iPad stands, or a simplified system with just a mini card reader for your pop-up shop, Square should have something for you.

Top features

  • Ring up your sales
  • Create customer files
  • Receive purchase orders
  • Scan in new inventory
  • Print barcodes
  • Extract margin reports
  • Create staff accounts to see who’s selling what

▶ Read more: Square vs Zettle

Square POS for Retail Review

Square’s Restaurant POS enables you to take control of, and seamlessly integrate, your restaurant’s front and back of house. The system is loaded with features designed to make daily restaurant life a little easier, including the ability to take orders at the table, check stock, and manage staff hours.

Top features

  • Insert your table layout, then manage your covers on the go
  • Input all your menus into the system
  • Keep the kitchen in sync with order changes
  • Track sales, covers and your customers
  • Find out which dishes are popular

How Much Does a Square POS System Cost?

The pricing for Square’s Retail and Restaurant packages are the same, but you’ll get access to the industry-specific features we mention in the previous section, depending on which you choose. Both packages are available in three different pricing tiers:

PlanCostTransaction fees



2.6% + 10¢ (in person)

2.9% + 30¢ (online)



2.5% + 10¢ (in person)

2.9% + 30¢ (online)


Custom if you process more than $250k per year

Custom when you contact Square’s sales team

Square Hardware Costs

Square Register – $799

Square Stand and Reader – $169 (iPad not included)

Save by Comparing POS Quotes
Do you already use a POS system?

Is Square Right for my Business?

Welcome to our Square-specific Q&A. Here, we’ll lay out some common questions or scenarios and answer them as fairly and accurately as possible – all to help you decide whether Square’s POS system shapes up for your business.

“My pop-up store frequently moves around Canada”

Square offers compact hardware that can be easily moved around, and set up anywhere around the country. It also works in offline mode, meaning you can take payments from your pop-up store even if there’s poor (or non-existent) internet coverage.

“Does Square have low processing fees?”

The main downside to Square’s POS system is that it imposes relatively high transaction and processing fees. However, there aren’t any extra overheads to worry about, such as monthly or setup costs, which makes your accountancy tasks a little easier.

“I’ve just opened a local coffee shop”

We Canadians love coffee, and we at Expert Market rate Square as one of the best POS systems for coffee shops. With no monthly or setup fees, you can get your coffee store up and running more quickly, and the Square POS system itself offers features like advanced analytics to help you track staff hours. It also offers CRM (customer relationship management) features to help you communicate with your coffee-loving customers.

What do Square’s Customer Reviews say?

We searched online for the latest customer reviews, giving you a customer’s insight into how Square’s POS system performs in real life. The reviews are mainly positive, though some customers describe how Square’s features could be more customizable:

“Square POS has been a great asset. It’s allowed us to take card payments – not only in person when we run an estate sale, but also over the phone for clients who wish to pay their invoices with a card versus a check. The option of a text or email receipt is also very helpful for those who want proof of purchase when we don't have a printer onsite.”

  • Athena, Square POS customer

“Switching from a POS company that requires a lot of training, I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about Square’s POS, other than the existing equipment they told us we could reuse hasn’t necessarily been easy to reuse. Also, you are not able to get as granular in customizing some features as other softwares.”

  • Jacob, Square POS customer

“Very easy to use and Square is good about depositing money into my bank account. It is easy to train someone in how to use it and it is very portable. It is also easy to use online.”

  • Kenneth, Square POS customer

Expert Verdict

Now that we’ve rounded off our Square POS system review, it’s time for a recap. Square’s affordable, user-friendly, and offers plenty of features to help you run your retail or restaurant business.

The transaction fees are relatively high, and you’ll need to consider the extra costs that come with installing third-party apps, but we still strongly recommend Square for start-ups and small businesses.

If you’d like to get in touch with Canada’s leading POS companies and receive bespoke quotes, we can help you bridge the gap. Simply use our free comparison tool (it only takes a minute), and we’ll match you with the right POS companies, who’ll be in touch to offer you more information and no-obligation quotes.

Written by:
Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.
Reviewed by:
Ruairi uses his 3+ years of research experience to uncover insights which can help Expert Market provide the best business solutions for their users. He has done this by meeting with business owners to find out what is important to them and what challenges they face on a daily basis. Ruairi specialises in tools that can be used to grow your business and has done research for a wide range of categories on Expert Market, such as EPOS, Website Builders, and Merchant Accounts.